b8ta, the retail store that sells trendy tech gadgets, recently raised a $7 million Series A round led by TriplePoint Capital with participation from Khosla Ventures, Fifth Wall Ventures, Macerich and Eniac Ventures. b8ta also received $8 million in debt funding and previously raised a $4.5 million seed round.
b8ta launched its first store in Palo Alto last December. Since then, things have been going well, b8ta CEO Vibhu Norby told me.
“We had a ton of traffic and sales,” Norby said. “People loved it. We expected to have this seasonal effect that retail stores typically see, but instead, from January onward until today, the traffic in the store has been going up and up and interest has been rising. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
The store has done hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales, but that doesn’t matter too much since the store doesn’t actually make money from sales. b8ta’s business model is entirely subscription-based, so b8ta is more focused on the return-on-investment that it can provide its sellers.
With b8ta, the goal is to get innovative products like the Gi Flybike, a folding electric bicycle, and Thync, a wearable for achieving mindfulness and boosting energy, into physical stores and enable people to have real, tactile experiences with them. Some of the most popular products include Wi-Fi router Eero, smart locks by August and Dash Robotics‘ DIY robots.
b8ta plans to use the new funding to expand its reach and open up additional stores in Santa Monica, Calif. and Seattle by the end of this year.
“We have a lot of information that we needed to open more stores,” Norby said. “There’ s a lot of demand from people all over the world to bring b8ta to their hometowns. But we also have hundreds of makers who want to put their products in our store and we didn’t have enough space.”
b8ta’s stores in Santa Monica and Seattle will be much bigger, and therefore able to carry more inventory. b8ta’s flagship store in Palo Alto can only carry 80 products at a time. By the end of the year, b8ta will probably be working with 100 to 200 companies, Norby says.